Asrubal Cabrera

Nick Franklin and Asdrubal Cabrera are the presumed favorites to become the Rays’ regular shortstop this season and while manager Kevin Cash says no decision has been made, he has also hinted that Cabrera is the favorite to win the job.

Franklin has said that he expects to be the starting shortstop.

“I’m going to be out there at short,” Franklin told the media. “There’s not a doubt in my mind … I’ve grown up playing shortstop. Even at the big-league level, playing short just seems natural to me. I enjoy it. I’m really comfortable there.”

Meanwhile, Cabrera was less emphatic about playing shortstop, only saying that he would prefer to stick to one position and not be shuffled back and forth between short and second.

“I would like to stay in one position,” Cabrera recently told the media. “I think it’s hard for anyone to play short or second; it’s not the same. You have to be ready for one of those two positions.”

Offensively, Cabrera has the advantage of 963 career games of experience and a career .330 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, Franklin has looked overmatched at times, both last fall after being acquired from the Mariners and this spring. During Spring Training he has struck out ten times and has yet to draw a walk.

Nick Franklin

The good news for Franklin is that the “loser” of the shortstop battle will still see plenty of time at second base and the decision on the shortstop job will come down to defense. The bad news for Franklin is that Cabrera is doing the one thing Cash and the Rays are looking for in a starting shortstop.

Cash was asked about the situation on Tuesday and said “[the candidates are] still kind of bouncing back and forth.” But Cash then added a “but…”

“But we want the guy who is going to make the routine play,” Cash said. “And not to say that anybody’s not doing that, [it] seems like they’re all doing that. Cabby just has the experience factor with making that play.”

In other words, if the season started today, Cabrera would be the starting shortstop and Franklin will either be at second base or on the bench and it is going to take a lot to change that.



  1. Rob says:

    They didn't give Cabrera $7m to not be a starter.

  2. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    ...and what of Beckham? 2nd base platoon?

  3. Gus says:

    Frankin had his 4th error of the spring today, so he's making it easy for Cash. This team needs a vet, especially at the start. And Cabrera looks the part when you watch him play. But it is a long season and I do think Franklin is an interesting player offensively.

    Beckham is kind of 180 degrees from Cabrera -- very raw and he took some bad swings in the spring game I was watching last weekend. But it is pretty clear he's going to be on the team and get some MLB at bats to see what he can do. But if he's scuffling into June, he better watch out, because Hak Ju Lee is a better player right now and may be the answer for 2016.


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